New England Soccer Today

Agudelo signs Stoke Pre-Contract

Juan Agudelo will be leaving the New England Revolution for Barclays Premier League club Stoke City on January 1, 2014 after the 20-year-old striker signed a pre-contract agreement with the English side, according to a release from Stoke.  Agudelo, who came to the Revolution in a May 7 trade with Chivas USA for allocation money, has an MLS contract that is set to expire on December 31.

The Colombian born U.S. International had three goals in five games for the Revolution since coming over from Chivas before suffering a right knee sprain. The Revolution were 3-1-1 in games Aguedelo played in.

Agudelo, who is nearing a return from injury, is expected to remain with the Revolution through the rest of the season.

“Juan is a talented player and he has put himself into a position to have options abroad at the end of his MLS contract this December,” the New England Revolution said in a statement from the club. “We always knew there was a possibility he would choose to explore these opportunities when we traded for him earlier this year, and we’re happy for Juan that he has earned this opportunity at Stoke. We’re looking forward to his return to the field with us for the remainder of the season as soon as he is back and fit from his recent injury.”

Agudelo, who has scored 14 goals in a 64 game MLS career that started with the New York Red Bulls in 2010, joins three other Americans at Stoke.  U.S. Internationals Brek Shea, Maurice Edu, and Attleboro, Mass. native Geoff Cameron all currently play for the club.

“We’ve put a lot of work into this deal, and I am delighted that we have managed to get the deal over the line,” Stoke City Manager Mark Hughes said in a statement. “It’s a good deal for us, because he is a very good young player who boasts a lot of talent as well as a lot of potential too.”

Reports had also linked Agudelo to La Liga’s Valencia CF, but Stoke was able to secure his signature and add to their growing contingent of Americans.

“I’ve known of him for a couple of years now. He burst on to the scene for the United States at the age of 17 and everybody has paid attention to him since,” said Hughes. “I have kept my eye on him for the last 18 months, and thankfully we were in a position where we were able to pull this deal off.”

Stoke have visited America and played against MLS teams during their past two preseasons, which has helped the club scout some of the league’s better players. Cameron, Shea, and now Agudelo, all joined the club directly from MLS.

“We’ve played against five MLS teams in the last two years and have been consistently impressed with the quality we’ve come up against,” said Stoke Chief Executive Tony Scholes . “We’ve already taken two players directly from the MLS in Geoff and Brek. Geoff readily adapted to life in the Premier League by making 35 league appearances for us in his first season at the Britannia Stadium. Brek and Maurice will be looking to do likewise this season and we’re confident that Juan will be able to follow suit.”

Agudelo becomes the third American to go directly from the New England Revolution to the Premier League. Former U.S. International striker Joe-Max Moore left the club in 1999 for Everton FC, while current U.S. International Clint Dempsey joined Fulham FC in 2007. Moore returned to MLS with the Revolution in 2003, while Dempsey returned this year with the Seattle Sounders.

The Revolution did not retain Dempsey’s MLS rights since the star attacker left the club for a reported transfer fee of $4 million, allowing Seattle to sign him without any compensation to New England. The club will likely retain Juan Agudelo’s MLS rights, however, since the young strike is leaving on a free transfer.

The Revolution also confirmed the signing of former U.S. International striker Charlie Davies, a New Hampshire native, on loan from Randers FC today with an option to purchase. New England traded a last round 2014 draft pick (either fourth or sixth round depending on the draft structure) to D.C. United for Davies’ rights.

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